With a booming real estate market in Williamsburg pricing them out of Brooklyn, members of the Orthodox Jewish community have set their sights on two new neighborhoods on Staten Island. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
There are only a few for sale signs outside homes in Willowbrook and Manor Heights. But the real estate market in the mid-island communities is more active than the signs indicate. Wanna-be buyers have been canvassing homeowners asking if they are willing to sell.
"They've been a little aggressively trying to get property around here," said one Staten Island resident.
"A guy came and knocked on her door and was asking to buy the house for like $800,000," another noted.
Flyers have also been circulating.
"My name is Noah. I am looking to buy a house in Manor Heights," one reads. "If you are interested in selling your house, please call."
Homeowners who declined to speak with NY1 on-camera told us Noah said he was from Williamsburg, and appeared to be part of the Hasidic Jewish community there.
Leaders of that community say a shortage of affordable housing with sufficient space is forcing Jewish families from Brooklyn - especially Hasidim from Williamsburg - to consider relocating to Willowbrook and Manor Heights, where there already is an established Orthodox Jewish community.
"More than one group of people that I have met and spoken to are desperately interested in rather than going as far away as New Jersey," said Isaac Abraham, a community activist.
Joshua Katz moved to Staten Island from Brooklyn four years ago. Now he's been selling homes to others like him, priced out of large Brooklyn homes that can accommodate their growing families.
"Slowly, it's built up, you know one, two, three, four, and it turned into over a hundred," Katz said.
"They're trying to find tracks of land to build three hundred homes," said Ron Molcho, a realtor.
Land for 300 homes is not available, so it would be impossible to create the type of communities seen in Rockland County and central New Jersey.
Still, the area is preparing for an influx of Orthodox Jewish residents.
Residents are taking the changes in stride. For years it has been a diverse community.
Meanwhile, a yeshiva is under construction and the borough's first kosher supermarket is to open in Willowbrook next year -signs that the Jewish community there will continue to grow.